Canberra TEDx speaker says learn from success

Friday 19 January 2018
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I love a new year! It is always a hope-filled time, as I imagine the year ahead full of bright and shiny opportunities. It is also a time that I like to reflect on the year that has been and to capture the insights I received along the way. However, as I spent time yesterday looking back on all those energy-filled and optimistic goals I set at the beginning of last year, I experienced a sense of regret for all that hadn’t happened. As a recovering perfectionist, it didn’t take long for me to spiral into feelings of discouragement and failure - such fabulous goals, so little traction!

In the midst of my pity party I recalled a leadership specialist I had heard recently. He attributed his success to his capacity to keep learning. He noted that half of what he had learned was from his failures and the other half was from his successes. What jumped for me in that moment was that while I am always ready to learn from my mistakes, I rarely pause to even acknowledge my successes, never mind reflect on what I did that allowed me to get a positive outcome.

When you stop and think about it, learning from your successes makes a lot of sense. I mean, you must have done something well in order to succeed, right? Aside from taking stock of the lessons learned, another critical reason you might want to invest time focusing on what went well is because research suggests that acknowledging your successes, both big and small, is a key way you build your self-confidence.  And when it comes to getting the best out of you, self-confidence is everything.

People with high self-confidence set higher goals, put in more discretionary effort, believe in their capacity to persevere through obstacles, and consequently achieve greater and more frequent success. As an added benefit, the success achieved further reinforces their self-confidence, catapulting them into a positive cycle where success literally breeds more success.

However, if you are any thing like me, when it comes to recalling your successes, you probably only remember a few of the most significant events. This means you could miss out on the confidence-boosting experience of acknowledging the hundreds of other ways you achieved success in 2017.

So, to help you recall and celebrate your plethora of achievements, book a meeting with yourself somewhere quiet and, ideally, with a beautiful view. Reflect on the questions below that I have adapted from a list by my mentor, Jack Canfield (author of the Success Principles and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series). Record your answers somewhere so you can come back to them at a later date when you are in need of encouragement and motivation. And finally, identify a way that you can reward yourself for all that success!

Sally Dooley is a Canberra-based leadership coach, TEDx speaker and speaker coach.

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